Getting Here by Ferry
BC Ferries has three terminals on Salt Spring Island:
Long Harbour Terminal connects with Tsawwassen Terminal (on the mainland south of Vancouver), often with stops at other Gulf Islands en route.
Fulford Harbour Terminal connects with Swartz Bay Terminal (on Vancouver Island north of Victoria).
Vesuvius Terminal connects with Crofton Terminal (on Vancouver Island approximately 40 km south of Nanaimo).
Sailings can be busy throughout the summer and holiday weekends throughout the year. Contacting BC Ferries to confirm schedules and make reservations (where available) is a good idea. Travellers coming by ferry from the mainland have multiple options:
- The Tsawwassen to Long Harbour route is the least complicated as there are normally no transfers to make. Travel times vary from 1 hour and 20 minutes to ~3 hours depending on how many other islands the ferry stops at along the way. Normally there are two sailings per day in each direction with some extra sailings on certain days during the summer.
- Another option is to take what is called a Throughfare from Tsawwassen to Fulford Harbour via Swartz Bay. This involves taking one ferry from Tsaswassen to Swartz Bay (1 hour and 35 minutes crossing time) and a second ferry from Swartz Bay to Fulford Harbour (35 minutes crossing time). The benefit of this option is that there are more trips per day to choose from. If you choose this route, be sure to ask for a Throughfare ticket at Tsawsassen. This is the same price as the ferry from Tsawwassen to Long Harbour and less expensive than the combined fares of the two ferries. For the return trip from Salt Spring to the mainland the Throughfare procedure is slightly different so ask your host about it before you leave.
- A less common option would be to travel from Horseshoe Bay Terminal in West Vancouver to Nanaimo (1 hour and 30 minutes crossing time), then drive about 40 minutes south to catch the Crofton to Vesuvius ferry (20 minutes crossing time). There is no Throughfare discount for this combination. This choice may suit travellers coming from Whistler, Squamish or Vancouver's North Shore thus avoiding the drive through the city traffic.
- Travellers coming via Washington State have additional options. They can take the mv Coho operated by Blackball Ferries from Port Angeles on the Olympic Penninsula to Victoria's Inner Harbour or the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes, Wa. through the San Juan Islands to Sidney, BC. After arriving from either of these routes you would then proceed to Swartz Bay Terminal to catch the ferry to Fulford Harbour.